Press release of the Berliner Wassertisch
Berlin, 28 April 2021
The organisers were overwhelmed by the response to the invitation of the Berlin Water Council (Berlin Wasserrats) on 27 April 21 to the online conference "Is Tesla taking over Berlin's water?": Interested parties came not only from Brandenburg and Berlin, but also from Freiburg and Saarbrücken, Munich and Toronto. The European Water Movement (EWM) and the Transnational Institute (TNI) also showed interest.
Dorothea Härlin, co-founder of the Berliner Wassertisch, pointed out in her introduction: "We, the Berliner Wassertisch, did not fight for years for the remunicipalisation of the Berlin water company (Berliner Wasserbetriebe) and co-founded the Berlin Blue Community, only for Tesla with its production, which is extremely questionable in terms of its eco-balance, to take our water and pollute it even more - the situation is bad enough as it is."
Spokeswoman Ulrike von Wiesenau comments: "On the outskirts of Berlin, the construction of a car plant without final government approval is proceeding at breakneck speed. Every day, new elements are discovered, although fundamental questions, such as the issue of groundwater, remain unresolved. The lack of transparency, the ignored agreements and the reference to trade and business secrets are not conducive to a climate of trust."
During the debate it became clear that many environmental groups and associations have been fighting against Tesla for a long time, but so far they have not been able to stand alone against this gigantic company. Everyone agreed that with all this accumulated knowledge and the current and future network of many actors, they could nevertheless do something against a global company that only thinks about profit.
A first requirement of this still young alliance is, as Erwin Nolde, a wastewater engineer and co-founder of the Blue Community in Berlin, says: "Tesla must at least apply the same standard as Volkswagen. Volkswagen installed its own water recycling system with its own wastewater treatment even before the Second World War. This is now the standard in almost all large companies. We call on policymakers to issue no more partial permits, and certainly no final permits, until this measure is implemented by Tesla."
All participants agreed on this demand and on the fact that this online conference will be the starting signal for further joint actions. The various contributions also showed that the local resistance of the inhabitants against the destruction of their "paradise", as one participant of the Grünheide citizens' initiative (BI Grünheide) put it, is extremely important. The production of electric cars as a supposed salvation against climate change was also repeatedly questioned.
With the experience of the Berliner Wassertisch in its fight against global companies, such as RWE and Veolia at the time, much can be expected from this new alliance.
Press contact: Ulrike von Wiesenau +49(0) 1573-4077795